Juicy Lucy Burger – The Golden BearJanuary 13, 2011 • By Rodney
The Golden Bear is an old-house-turned-bar located in the downtown area of Sacramento, CA.
It’s one of those places that likes to surprise you with their upscale menu when you least expect it. Kind of like those cars you used to pull up next to at the stoplight that didn’t look like much until it left you in the dust at the light. This local bar is a sleeper casual farm-to-table restaurant (which was actually featured in an episode of Diners Drive-Ins and Dives).
I’ve had a burger crush on the Juicy Lucy burger since I saw it featured on the FoodNetwork show Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives. Apparently the Juicy Lucy was invented in Minnesota, so when I heard that there was someplace local that served this burger stuffed with cheesy goodness, I quickly added it my “must eat there” list.
I went to The Golden Bear at the beginning of the lunch hour and sat down at the bar. I got handed a menu right away and I ordered a Bloody Mary to pair with my burger. The burger came out pretty quickly and I resisted my first instinct to tear into it so I could take the photos you see above.
As a preface, I should tell you that I generally don’t like any “fancy stuff” on my burgers. And by fancy stuff, I mean things like avocado. This burger had avocado on it and I’d usually order the burger without the fancy. However, as a New Year’s burger resolution, I told myself I was going to try the burgers as the chefs intended them at least once before I started ordering it without all the “extras” on it.
The first bite made me say “wow” out loud and do a little burger dance in my seat. The burger was super juicy, true to its name. It was also super cheesy, heaping with cheese on the inside and topped with even more cheese on the top. The onions were beautifully sautéed in Jameson’s whiskey and added some great flavor to the burger while the fresh lettuce and bacon confit added a perfect crunch to each bite. The bun was lightly toasted and not overloaded mayo or ketchup.
After the second bite, I started to slow down…but in a good way. Have you ever been eating something so good that you start to eat it slower because you don’t want it to be over? Sort of like reading a good book that you don’t want to end. This was definitely a “slow play” burger if I’ve ever eaten one.
After I finished, the bartender asked me if I’d like anything else and I said “yeah, a couple more of those burgers”. He laughed as though I were joking.
My initial thoughts on this burger as I was driving home was that it was easily in the top 5 burgers that I’ve tried in Sacramento. By the time I got home I was already craving another and I’m convinced it’s in the top 3 burgers in Sacramento. I’m no burger purist, in that I’ve got no problem adding condiments to a burger (mostly ketchup, but sometimes mustard, mayo, etc), but like a fine steak that doesn’t need A-1, there’s something to be said for a burger that doesn’t make you even think to reach for the ketchup bottle.